'Girls': Most Memorable Friends, Relatives and Mistakes

7:07 PM 4/16/2017

by Hilary Lewis

Peter Scolari, Jorma Taccone, Gaby Hoffmann, Riz Ahmed, Corey Stoll and Jenny Slate are among the best-known guest stars who've appeared on the HBO series.

  • Peter Scolari and Becky Ann Baker as Hannah's parents, Tad and Loreen Horvath

    Craig Blankenhorn

    As the parents of Lena Dunham's Hannah Horvath, Peter Scolari (of Bosom Buddies fame) and Becky Ann Baker's characters delivered the bombshell that set Girls in motion when they took Hannah to dinner in the pilot and told her they would no longer financially support her. Tad and Loreen later got their own storylines as Tad told his family he was gay at the end of season four and, reluctantly, began a relationship with a man named Keith, whom he met online. Loreen, meanwhile, is forced to confront life on her own. Scolari's work as Tad was so good that he won a best guest actor in a comedy Emmy.

  • Jorma Taccone as Booth Jonathan

    Booth Jonathan (Jorma Taccone) first appeared in the third episode of Girls as an avant-garde artist who flirts with Marnie. They get together in season two, but Marnie's crushed when, after quite a bit of hooking up and being asked to co-host a party, she learns he doesn't think of her as his girlfriend.

  • Rita Wilson as Marnie's Mom, Evie Michaels

    Since the first episode of season two, Rita Wilson has popped up occasionally as Marnie's often-critical mother.

  • Chris O'Dowd as Thomas-John

    Jessa and Marnie first meet venture capitalist Thomas-John (Chris O'Dowd) over drinks toward the end of season one, after which the three of them return to his apartment, and Marnie starts making out with Jessa. He later ends up marrying Jessa in a surprise wedding in the first-season finale, but they break up midway through season two, when they have an epic fight after dinner with Thomas-John's parents, as Jessa condescendingly points out how different they are.

  • Donald Glover as Sandy

    After Girls' first season was criticized for its lack of racial diversity, season two opened with Hannah dating a black man, played by Donald Glover. Although the two have differing political beliefs, it's ultimately his lack of support for her writing that leads to the end of their relationship.

  • Patrick Wilson as Joshua

    Patrick Wilson guest-starred as a mysterious man whom Hannah met and spent a sex-filled weekend with in the second season episode "One Man's Trash." Superficial differences between the two stars led to a great deal of online debate about whether similar interactions would have occurred in real life. Some also suspected that the whole encounter might have been a dream, a theory seemed to be disproven when Joshua reappeared midway through Girls' final season as the doctor who tells Hannah, so matter-of-factly it's almost an aside, that she's pregnant.

  • Shiri Appleby as Natalia

    Adam briefly dated Natalia (Shiri Appleby), the daughter of a woman he met in AA, at the end of season two, dumping her after he and Hannah get back together. During that brief interlude, Appleby starred in one of Girls' most controversial sex scenes, in which Adam asks Natalia to crawl on all fours to his bedroom, where he has sex with her even though she seems a bit reluctant.

  • Colin Quinn as Cafe Grumpy Boss Hermie

    Colin Quinn has appeared in a handful of Girls episodes, including the second-season finale, as Ray's (Alex Karpovsky) appropriately cranky Cafe Grumpy boss, Hermie. He does, however, help Ray take a big step in his career, offering him the opportunity to run the new Grumpy's he's opening in Brooklyn Heights and build it from the ground up. Hermie later dishes out some career advice to Shoshanna, advising her to, as Sheryl Sandberg would say, "lean in." He sadly dies midway through Girls' final season.

  • John Cameron Mitchell as David Pressler-Goings

    John Cameron Mitchell appeared in a number of Girls episodes spanning seasons two and three as Hannah's e-book editor who suddenly commits suicide, which doesn't prompt Hannah to grieve so much as to express concern about what will happen to her writing project.

  • Jennifer Westfeldt as Annalise Pressler-Goings

    Westfeldt appeared in a season-three episode as David Pressler-Goings' wife, Annalise — a surprise to Hannah, who meets her at David's funeral, because she thought he was gay. The funeral is also where Annalise tells Hannah that her book is also dead, news that Lena Dunham's character doesn't handle in the most tactful way.

  • Gaby Hoffmann as Adam's Sister, Caroline Sackler

    Adam's wild, uninhibited sister burst into the Girls universe with her sudden arrival in season three. She spent a contentious few episodes staying with Hannah and Adam before leaving and returning later in the season to reveal she's having a baby with Hannah's downstairs neighbor Laird. Caroline and Laird have their baby, in a dramatic fashion, at the end of Girls' fourth season and begin raising it together before Caroline leaves Laird and their child in season five. She returns unexpectedly at the end of the sixth and final season, where she seems to be at peace.

  • Richard E. Grant as Jasper

    Richard E. Grant appeared in a few season-three episodes as a coke addict Jessa meets in rehab. He follows her back to New York City, and they fall off the wagon together.

  • Felicity Jones as Dot

    Before she joined the Star Wars universe, Felicity Jones appeared in one episode of Girls' third season as Jasper's estranged daughter, whom Shoshanna finds and brings to dinner with Jasper and Jessa as an intervention.

  • Jenna Lyons as Janice

    J.Crew's then-creative director had a recurring role as Hannah's boss in season three, when Lena Dunham's character is hired to write for GQ's advertorial department.

  • June Squibb as Hannah's Grandmother Flo

    The Nebraska star played Hannah's grandmother in a season-three episode centered around her hospitalization.

  • Patti LuPone as Herself

    The Broadway star gave Hannah some unsolicited advice about dating an actor in season three, when Hannah interviewed her for a GQ advertorial piece, sponsored by bone-density drug Strenova.

  • Anthony Edwards as Melvin Shapiro

    Girls viewers finally met Shoshanna's parents (Anthony Edwards and Ana Gasteyer) in the first episode of the show's fourth season, at their daughter's pomp-and-circumstance-free graduation. The two, both named "Mel Shapiro," bicker about where "Shoshie" asked for her diploma to be sent while Edwards takes pictures. Co-showrunner Jenni Konner told THR that Edwards' kind disposition also helped them in crafting his character. "When it's Anthony Edwards, who's the sweetest man on Earth, you can get away with him being nasty in a different way than if it had been a guy who wasn't Anthony Edwards," she said. "You get away with a lot that way."

  • Ana Gasteyer as Melanie Shapiro

    Zosia Mamet told THR that meeting her parents, including Gasteyer (pictured above), helped her understand her character better. "It suddenly made Shoshanna make a lot more sense to me, the fact that they are so biting toward each other and sort of so specific toward her made her make more sense," she said. Meanwhile, Konner said of crafting the elder Shapiros, "We just [tried] to think, like, 'How do you build a Shoshanna? Like, who makes that?' We always knew that her parents were kind of ugly to each other, we knew that about her character, and it was finding it in the story, but it was also finding it in the casting — and we got so lucky to find those two, and they bring so much to it."

  • Desiree Akhavan as Chandra

    Actor-writer-director Desiree Akhavan plays Iowa grad student Chandra, who seems to get along with Hannah initially. But after Hannah reads her story aloud in class, Chandra and nearly all of the other classmates criticize her piece. Akhavan told THR of the dynamic between her character and Hannah, "I think there's this competitive energy between very smart, driven women in that when you recognize someone who's slightly similar to yourself…there's this energy where the two of you cannot co-exist and one of you must be destroyed. That's what I channeled with this character, that she can't live in a world where someone is as talented but slightly less polished as she, so I think she felt she had to destroy her a little."

  • Zuzanna Szadkowski as Priya

    Best known for her role as Gossip Girl's Dorota, Zuzanna Szadkowski plays another Iowa grad student, Priya, who also clashes with Hannah. "I feel like [Hannah's] made this hard sort of life decision, and she's going to have to learn something new about herself. So I think [the other grad students] kind of serve that end," Szadkowski told THR. "We're not easy on her. I think the show sometimes is about watching these girls get into not-so-easy situations and this is another one of those."

  • Gillian Jacobs as Mimi-Rose Howard

    Adam begins dating Mimi-Rose Howard while Hannah's in Iowa, with Hannah learning of her boyfriend's new girlfriend when she returns to the Brooklyn apartment they used to share, where Adam is now living with Mimi-Rose. Viewers later learn that Jessa set them up and that Mimi-Rose is an independent artist, who might be a bit manipulative. She and Adam ultimately break up at the end of season four.

  • Jason Ritter as Scott

    Girls viewers first encounter Jason Ritter's instant-soup mogul when he meets with Shoshanna on one of her disastrous job interviews. While Shoshanna doesn't get the job at Madame Tinsley's, she does get a boyfriend in Scott, whom she dates for the rest of the fourth season. After cheating on him in Japan, though, Shosh and Scott break up.

  • Jake Lacy as Fran

    Hannah meets history teacher Fran when she starts substitute teaching at St. Justine's School. After an awkward date, they get together at the end of Girls' fourth season and continue seeing each other for much of the fifth season, with Hannah viewing him as a healthy, grown-up choice. Towards the end of the season, though, aware the relationship's not working, Hannah dumps him.

  • Maude Apatow as Cleo

    Girls executive producer Judd Apatow's daughter Maude popped up for a brief guest-starring appearance at the end of season four, as Cleo, one of the students Hannah was substitute teaching at St. Justine's School. The two develop an inappropriate peer-like friendship, which includes Hannah joining Cleo on an excursion to get their frenulums pierced. Only Cleo goes through with it, though, as Hannah backs out after seeing how painful Cleo's experience is.

  • Aidy Bryant as Abigail

    Mark Schafer

    The Saturday Night Live star first showed up at the end of Girls' fourth season as she offered Shoshanna, who'd struggled to find a job after graduating college, employment in Japan. Abigail returned, firing Shosh via video chat, shortly after Shosh had moved to and began working in Japan. Abigail made a couple other appearances as Girls came to an end, surprising Shosh in Japan after she decided to stay despite losing the job she'd moved there to take, and toward the end of Girls' final season, when she ran into Shosh and Ray on the street and ended up helping Ray document Brooklyn's gentrification and engaging in a bit of a romance with him, including a carousel kiss.

  • Corey Stoll as Dill Harcourt

    Mark Schafer/courtesy of HBO

    House of Cards alum Stoll played famous, gay news anchor Dill Harcourt, who starts dating Elijah in the show's fifth season but dumps him after Elijah says he wants a more serious relationship. Dill returns midway through Girls' sixth and final season, seeking to hide from the paparazzi at Elijah and Hannah's apartment, distracting Elijah before an important audition and forcing him to confront his feelings for his ex.

  • Grace Dunham as Lob

    Lena Dunham's sister made a cameo appearance in season five as an employee at Ray's rival coffee shop, Helvetica, across the street. The short-haired Lob gets offended after being called "sir" by Ray, who then asks if he's speaking to a "female." Lob says they "don't like biologists" or "detectives" and tells Ray to leave, repeatedly calling him, "white man."

  • Hiro Mizushima as Yoshi Kadokura

    The Japanese actor played Shoshanna's dreamy boss, with whom she had a fling during her time in Japan.

  • Jenny Slate as Tally Schifrin

    Slate first showed up as Hannah's Oberlin classmate and frenemy at the end of Girls' first season, when she threw a book party, where Hannah seethed at her success. Towards the end of Girls' penultimate season, Hannah bumped into Tally on the street, where Tally let Hannah open up about her recent writing issues and relationship woes and Tally shared that her sudden success didn't feel as great as it seemed.

  • Riz Ahmed as Paul-Louis

    Mark Schafer

    Hannah has a brief fling with Ahmed's laid-back surf instructor Paul-Louis while she's in the Hamptons on a freelance assignment. After having sex with him, though, she finds out that she's pregnant and decides to keep the baby and raise her son as a single mom.

  • Matthew Rhys as Chuck Palmer

    Courtesy of HBO

    Rhys played famous author, Chuck Palmer, in a standalone episode in Girls' final season. In the episode about consent, Hannah confronts him about whether he used his power and influence to engage in multiple, possibly nonconsensual, sexual encounters with college students on his book tour. The two have a fiery conversation and the episode ends in a way that leaves Hannah and viewers feeling uncomfortable.

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